The Constitution of United Republic of Tanzania: Concept, types, amendment, importance and protection

1.1. The meaning and structure of the national constitution

 A constitution is a system ,often codified in a written document,which establishes the fundamental rules and principles by which an organization is governed.

 It is the fundamental law in one or more documents which constitutes state power and defines the relationship between organs of the state and citizens.The constitution establishes and     defines role.power legitimacy,limits the exercise of power by ensuring basic right of citizens.


1.2. Types Of Constitutions


There are two types of constitution ,namely Written constitution and Unwritten constitution.

1.2.1. Written constitution


It is refers to basic laws or principle described in a document.It act as a standard reference to which government activities reflect upon it and it minimizes chances of wrong interpretation .Many countries have adopted this type of constitution.For example Tanzania,Kenya,USA etc.

1.2.2. Unwritten constitution


Is the one in which basic principles are not written in a single document but they rely on various document and other points of reference.A good example is Britain where its constitution is based on status ,customs,precedence and convention practices.


1.3.   The national constitution


It is the fundamental law found in one or more documents which constitutes state power and define the relationship between organs of the states and citizen.


The constitution provides the frame work of the country and creates the principle organization of the stats their power and their limitations.

1.3.1. Structure of the National Constitution in Tanzania

 There are five constitution adopted by Tanzania since its independence.

  1. The first constitution was the independence Constitution of 1961.
  2. The second constitution was the Republic constitution of 1962.
  3. The third constitution was the constitution of Tanzania of 1965(One party constitution).
  4. Fourth ,Interim constitution of Tanzania of 1965(One party constitution).
  5. The fifth one is permanent constitution of 1977.

1.3.2.   Structure of  the 1977 Tanzania Constitution


  The Constitutional is divided into ten chapters and Each chapter is divided into several parts.These chapter are:


CHAPTER ONE:Includes three parts ;part one declares the united Republic as a single country and its tertiary.The United Republic is proclaimed to be a democratic ,multiparty and socialist .

                     Part two states the fundamental objective ,disentrance principle of state policy.Parts three describes basic right and duties.

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CHAPTER TWO: Deals with the executive of the United Republic .It has three part.Part One deals with the Presidency,Part two deals with the Vice President and Part three with the Prime Minister.


CHAPTER THREE: Deals with the legislature of the United Republic of Tanzania It has three parts,The one which touches the Parliament, another is about members,constituencies and election of members and the third is about procedures,powers and privileges of the Parliament.


CHAPTER FOUR: Describes the Revolutionary government of Zanzibar,the revolutionary Council and the

House of representatives of Zanzibar.Part one deal specifically with revolutionary government of Zanzibar and president of Zanzibar;Part two is about the revolutionary  Council while Part three is about the House of Representatives of Zanzibar.


CHAPTER FIVE: Has six part,which give description about the High Court of the United Republic,the judicial Service Commission for Mainland Tanzania ,The High Court of Zanzibar and the High Court of the United Republic of Tanzania.


CHAPTER SIX: Has two parts,which deals with the Parliament,Commission of Inquiry and Public Leader.


CHAPTER SEVEN: This chapter has two parts.Part One deals with the contribution and allocation of the revenue at the United Republic of Tanzania while part two is about the consolidated fund and the finances of United Republic of Tanzania.


CHAPTER EIGHT: This chapter deals with the establishment and functions of local government authorities,such as district and municipal councils.


CHAPTER NINE: Gives explanation of armed forces and also describes the power of the commander -inchief of the armed forces.


CHAPTER TEN: This chapter has miscellaneous provisions which include interpretation of terms in constitution,union matters etc.

1.4. Making The Constitution

Historical background of Tanzania constitution.

  • Tanzania constitution has undergone several major changes since 1961 as follows:
  1. The independence constitution of 1961.

It was made by the British colonialist. It was used when Tanganyika got her independence and when Mwl. Nyerere was a prime minister.

  1. The Republican constitution.

It was made by the constitution Assembly when Tanganyika proposing to make the country a republic Mwl. Nyerere was elected to be first president of the republic of Tanganyika.

  1. The interim constitution of the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar of 196

It was made by president of Tanzania after the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar.

  1. The interior constitution of Tanzania 1965.
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It was made by the parliament of the United Republic of Tanzania. This constitution declared Tanzania a single party state where by TANU of Tanzania mainland and ASP of Zanzibar where the only political parties recognized by the constitution. 

  1. The constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania of 1977.

It was made by constitution Assembly (BUNGE) when Tanu and ASP to form Chama cha Mapinduzi ( CCM).


1.5. Constitution Amendment

This is process of improving / changing the laws in the constitution. In 1977 constitution has the following major amendment the cater for changing needs of the society.

  1. The introduction of a Bill of right (1984).
  2. Introduction of the multi-party system (1992).
  3. Introduction of the Vice president as the president running mate in the election and the president of Zanzibar as a member of the Union cabinet (1995).
  4. Change in mode of electing the president (2000).
    1. The president to be elected by highest votes.
    2. The number of seats allocated to women in parliament was increased to thirty percent.
    3. The establishment of independence of the Judiciary and its power on legal matter.
    4. The establishment of the human Right and good governance commission.


1.6. Importance Of A National Constitution

The constitution is very importance to the country for the following reason.

  1. The constitution practices the rights of individual.
  2. It ensures that the government is fair and Just to its citizens.
  3. It describes the form of government that is used in the country.
  4. It defines the limits of the power of leaders.
  5. It shows how leaders are to be chosen.


1.7. Relationship between the constitution and the government of Tanzania

  1. The constitution defines the form of government to be used in our country.E.g The constitution state that our government is the United Republic.
  2. The government has to be based on principles of democracy, human right, social justice and observance of sovereignty of the state as the constitution.
  3. It is the constitution that establishment the organs of the state as the constitution prescribes.
  4. The constitution state the terms of the leaders and how they are elected.
  5. The elected leaders take an action to defend the constitution.
  6. Leaders of the government are supposed to rule according to the constitution.
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1.8. Ways of the protecting the constitution 

  1. The existing constitution was made by a body which dissolved after finishing its task.
  2. All laws of the country are derived from the constitution and no one can make laws which contradict the constitution.
  3. The court laws protect the constitution by ensuring that all people are allowed to enjoy their rights.
  4. The government and non- government organization educate the society so that they can understand and protect their constitution rights.
  5. Mass media educate people about their right so that when these right is abused they can demand them at the courts of law.
  6. Every citizen must honour the constitution.

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